12 ways to alleviate acid reflux
Patients suffering from acid reflux may try the below steps:
- Eating sparingly and slowly: Patients can try eating small meals more frequently rather than three large meals daily to reduce acid reflux symptoms. The food must be eaten in small bites and chewed properly.
- Reducing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle: Obesity causes the lower esophageal sphincter to go lax, decreasing the pressure that holds the sphincter closed. This leads to reflux and heartburn. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with reducing body weight can help in decreasing the symptoms of acid reflux.
- No smoking: Nicotine relaxes the esophageal sphincter causing symptoms of heartburn, so quitting the habit of smoking may help in reducing the symptoms of acid reflux.
- Avoiding carbonated beverages: Carbonated beverages may make a person burp, which sends acid into the esophagus. Quitting the habit of or avoiding carbonated beverages and drinking water instead of sparkling water can curb the symptoms of acid reflux.
- Avoiding certain foods: People with acid reflux may be instructed to eliminate some foods that are more likely than others to trigger reflux, including fatty foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, onions, garlic, coffee, tea, chocolate, and alcohol.
- Staying up after eating: When standing, or even sitting, gravity alone helps keeps acid in the stomach, where it belongs. It is recommended to finish eating three hours before going to bed. This means no naps after lunch and no late suppers or midnight snacks.
- Don't move too fast: Avoiding vigorous exercise or strenuous workout for a couple of hours after eating can curb the symptoms of acid reflux.
- Taking medications: Some medications such as postmenopausal estrogen, tricyclic antidepressants, and anti-inflammatory painkillers can relax the sphincter or can irritate the esophagus. Identifying and curbing such medications after discussing with a doctor can curb acid reflux symptoms.
- Adjusting sleeping position: Most acid reflux occurs during sleep. To prevent nighttime attacks, patients may need to position their head at an angle, higher than the abdomen. The head of the bed should be elevated to a minimum of 30°, perhaps with a firm foam-rubber wedge or by putting bricks under the bedposts. Lying flat down should be avoided, especially right after eating.
- Limit alcohol: Drinking alcohol may increase the severity of acid reflux and heartburn. It aggravates symptoms by increasing stomach acid, relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter and impairing the ability of the esophagus to clear itself of acid.
- Limit caffeine intake: Coffee temporarily weakens the lower esophageal sphincter, increasing the risk of acid reflux. Similar to coffee, caffeine weakens the lower esophageal sphincter.
- Limit citrus juice: Drinking citrus juice makes acid reflux symptoms worse as citrus juice irritates the lining of the esophagus.
What is gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD)?
Repeated backflow of acid from the stomach into the food pipe or mouth is called gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD).
Three conditions can cause GERD:
- Poor tone of lower part of the esophagus (food pipe)
- Too much acid in the stomach
- Delayed stomach emptying
The lower esophageal sphincter is a muscle that controls the passage of food between the esophagus (food pipe) and stomach. Sometimes, this muscle does not close completely, leading acid from the stomach to flow back into the throat or esophagus. This abnormal condition is called gastroesophageal reflux or acid reflux.
Symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux include sour taste in the mouth, dry cough, and burning sensation in the throat. Sometimes, it may cause a heartburn (pain in the upper abdomen and chest that sometimes feel like an individual is having a heart attack).
When these symptoms become recurrent and severe, it is called GERD.
Which type of a diet can fight GERD?
A certain type of food or diet can help fight gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), which include the following:
- Chicken breasts: Skinless chicken breasts that may be baked should be included. Lean and packed with protein, chicken breasts are very easy to digest and can be a good and easy diet for patients with GERD.
- Plain water: Frequently consuming water can make the digestion process better and curb GERD symptoms.
- Ginger: A diet or food with ginger can calm the over acidic stomach. Ginger tea may also be included in the diet.
- Watermelon: Watermelon is a low-acid fruit that won’t trigger symptoms and can be added to the routine diet to fight GERD.
- Brown rice: Brown rice is a good substitute in the regular diet rather than white rice.
- Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a better choice because it has plenty of fiber and may give sufficient energy to the body.
- Potatoes, carrots, turnips, and parsnips: They’re full of healthy complex carbohydrates and digestible fiber.
- Olive oil: Body needs fat to work right; olive oil is a good substitute rather than regular cooking oil.
- Lettuce and celery: Reflux can make us gassy, so foods such as beans and dried fruits can cause GERD. Mild veggies such as lettuce and celery are healthy, low in calories, easy on the stomach, and they won’t cause more gas.
- Fennel: It is low in acid, which can help soothe the upset stomach that can be both a cause and symptom of GERD. Patients can roast it and serve it as a main course, sauté it as a side dish, or slice it raw and add it to a salad.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Foods That Fight GERD: (https://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/ss/slideshow-foods-fight-gerd)
Top Ways to Relieve Acid Reflux Related Articles
8 Foods and Drinks That Help with Acid RefluxWhat is acid reflux and how can you treat it at home? Learn the top foods and drinks that can ease your symptoms and help you find relief.
What Does Chest Pain on the Left Side Above a Female Breast Mean?Chest pain on the left side above a female breast can have a variety of causes. Learn the signs of chest pain on the left side, what may cause it, how doctors diagnose it, and what you can do to treat it.
GERD (Acid Reflux, Heartburn)GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a condition in which the acidified liquid contents of the stomach backs up into the esophagus. The symptoms of uncomplicated GERD are:
- regurgitation, and
GERD and GER (Acid Reflux) in Infants and ChildrenGERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is the upward movement of stomach content, including acid, into the esophagus and sometimes into or out of the mouth. Common symptoms of GERD in children include colic, feeding problems, poor growth, frequent vomiting or coughing, heartburn, regurgitation, recurrent wheezing, pneumonia, choking, or gagging. Treatment may involve elevating the child's bed, keeping the child upright after eating, limiting foods that seem to make the reflux worse, encouraging your child to exercise, and serving several small meals a day.
Heartburn Causes, Symptoms and RemediesHeartburn is a symptom of acid reflux that causes chest pain when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. Heartburn symptoms may mimic chest pain that occurs during a heart attack. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may produce other symptoms.
Heartburn vs. Acid Reflux (Differences and Similarities)
Heartburn and acid reflux are not the same thing. Heartburn is actually a symptom of acid reflux. Heartburn gets its name because it feels like a burning sensation around the heart. Another symptom that occurs with heartburn is a bitter or sour taste in the mouth, usually when you eat or lye down. Heartburn affects more than 60 million people in the US at least once a month. Acid reflux, or GERD, occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, which irritates it. Heartburn is just one symptom of acid reflux. Other symptoms of acid reflux include:
- Nausea after eating
- A feeling of fullness during or after eating
- Abdominal bloating
- Upset stomach
- Reflux laryngitis
- A tightness in the throat
- Problems swallowing
- In some people, vomiting
Causes of acid reflux and heartburn include:
- Being obese
- Slouching (poor posture)
- Medications like calcium channel blockers, theophylline, nitrates, and antihistamines
- Foods and drinks like caffeine, citrus fruits and vegetables, alcohol, and chocolate
- Increase in stomach acid
- Eating a heavy meal
- Eating before bed
The treatment for heartburn and acid reflux is to treat the underlying cause, for example, GERD, with over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, prescription medicine, natural remedies, and lifestyle changes like a eating a healthy, less fatty, spicy diet, not eating big meals, not eating before bed, and getting regular exercise to improve your posture.
Sometimes a heart attack can mimic heartburn and acid reflux because they feel very similar. If you have symptoms of chest pain, tightness in the chest, heartburn, acid reflux, jaw, tooth, or head pain; shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, sweating, discomfort in the upper middle of the abdomen, arm or upper back pain, or the general feeling of being ill, go to the nearest Emergency Department immediately because these are the symptoms of a heart attack.
American College of Gastroenterology. "Acid Reflux." 2017.
familydoctor.org. "Heartburn." Updated: Mar 2014.
National Library of Medicine; PubMed Health. "Heartburn and GERD: Treatment options for GERD." Updated: Nov 18, 2015.
How Can I Relieve Acid Reflux?Acid reflux refers to the condition in which the stomach contents move up into the food pipe (esophagus). When the acidic stomach contents leak frequently, more than twice a week over several weeks, into the esophagus, the condition is called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Treatment of acid reflux includes lifestyle and home remedies (eating small meals, not eating before bed, avoiding coffee and tea, etc.), medications, and surgery.
How Does Acid Reflux Make You Feel? 10 Common SymptomsAcid reflux can cause you to feel pain in your chest and a sour taste in your mouth. Find out more about acid reflux and 10 common symptoms that people with the condition often experience.
Is Barrett's Esophagus Serious?Barrett’s esophagus is a serious medical condition in which the inner lining of the food pipe (esophagus) is damaged due to acid reflux. People with chronic and untreated GERD have a high risk of Barrett's esophagus.
What Are the Best Foods To Eat If You Have GERD?What is GERD, and how can you manage it? Learn more about this condition and how making diet and lifestyle changes can play an important role in treatment.
What Is the Quickest Way to Get Rid of Heartburn?Taking antacids is considered the quickest way to get rid of heartburn. These over-the-counter medications help neutralize stomach acid. They are one of the first recommended treatments. They may provide quick relief. However, antacid overuse can cause problems such as diarrhea or chronic kidney disease, especially if they contain aluminum and magnesium.